MyDIGITAL and World Bank kickstarts discussions on GovTech transformation

  • Challenges include institutional coordination, citizen-centric service design, data reuse
  • Must recognize the challenges of scaling up and the need for a collaborative approach

Rafizi Ramli (head of table) leading the discussion between Malaysian officials and World Bank executives.

MyDIGITAL Corporation, in collaboration with the World Bank, discussed the challenges and opportunities in the progress of public sector digital transformation in Malaysia during a roundtable themed, "Malaysia GovTech: Navigating the Transformation" in Putrajaya on Friday, 19 May 2023.   

In driving GovTech’s transformation, the Malaysian Government has launched policies and blueprints such as the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, and the Public Sector Digitalization Strategic Plan, while keeping itself in alignment with the 12th Malaysia Plan.
And this is reflected in the country’s performance in the Digital Adoption Index (DAI) and the World Bank GovTech Maturity Index (GTMI).

While the Malaysian government’s strong commitment to public sector digital transformation can be seen, there are still challenges to overcome which include institutional coordination, citizen-centric service design, citizen engagement, system interoperability, data reuse, transparency, open data, and digital skills development.

The GovTech Roundtable brought together stakeholders, including the Ministry of Economy, Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU), Ministry of Finance (MOF), Public Services Department of Malaysia (JPA), Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), and other pertinent governmental organizations to discuss key challenges and opportunities in digital governance. 

The event was particularly relevant given the upcoming Mid-Term Review of the 12th Malaysia Plan and Phase 1 review of the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, where public sector digital transformation is a key enabler. The agenda for the roundtable included informative sessions and interactive discussions that fostered meaningful dialogue.

The roundtable was led by Minister of Economy, Rafizi Ramli, and Dr. Apurva Sanghi, the World Bank's Acting Country Manager for Malaysia and Lead Economist.

MyDigital described the roundtable as serving a vital platform for exchanging knowledge, promoting best practices, and influencing the future course of digital transformation in the public sector.

In opening the discussions Rafizi said, “Our vision for GovTech goes beyond just having websites and apps. It is a major economic design that aims to position Malaysia as a regional tech hub and digital leader. By embracing digital solutions, the public sector can play a crucial role in accelerating digital adoption, creating jobs, and upgrading our economy. We recognize the challenges of scaling up and the need for a collaborative approach to ensure that the march towards GovTech is sustainable, attainable and done with least disruption. This roundtable is the first of a series of such steps.”

The Roundtable saw participants discussing the present status of GovTech in Malaysia and identified areas requiring improvement, highlighted significant challenges and reform priorities. The roundtable also heard and discussed about using more in-depth tools such as the Digital Government Readiness Assessment (DGRA), which is a more comprehensive framework to assess the state of digital gov transformation.

The outcomes of the roundtable are as follows:
GovTech is a major economic design that has the potential to scale up digital adoption and innovation.

The government’s overall organisational design would have to cater for public services that are digitised and citizen’s needs must be central to the overall design.

Key takeaways from GovTech Maturity Index (GTMI) 2022:

While most countries have matured in GovTech adoption, there are still challenges in terms of citizen engagement, transparency, and accountability. 
Lessons learned from global experience: To effectively adopt GovTech, a high degree of digital skills is required but training has to be targeted towards different segments of the civil service. 


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